Liverpool – What’s going on? – Our society is really sick when people get treated like this

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its web site – see link below

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shocking-horrible-ways-people-treat-15778909

Is it me or have we become more selfish and intolerant in recent times? And why do some people feel the need to make fun of, intimidate and even attack those who look or speak differently to themselves? What fuels all this fear and loathing?

When I was at school in Maghull and there was a large epileptic colony in the Town I recall some youngsters making fun of the epileptics, some of whom had physical disabilities as well. As I grew up I realised it was fear of those who were different that caused the unfortunate reaction. To see an epileptic have an attack in the street can be disturbing if you don’t understand what is happening, so I guess fear of what happened was concealed by childlike mocking.

Then around the age of 17 I started to work with the epileptic residents at the Maghull Homes and I got to know some wonderful people and understand the challenges they faced every day. I guess I became a more rounded person through that experience.

What strikes me is that young people need to interact with people who are different by race, colour, sexual orientation, disability etc. etc. from an early age so that it becomes normal for them to accept such differences and to make friends with ‘different’ people.

But probably the biggest issue is that prejudices and fears of those who are different get passed down through family generations. I have said before in my postings that there was antisemitism in my family for reasons I have never understood but it stopped being passed down as I would not accept it.

Hate and fear is taught, young people don’t have to carry their parent’s prejudices with them.

BBC, Farage and Berlin – Dark days indeed as the UK turns its back on those who have nothing

I was utterly disgusted to hear the comments of Farage, the new darling of the BBC, today. To try to make political capital on the back of the appalling Berlin terrorist attack is bad enough but to attempt to pin the blame for the attack on Merkel was utterly shameful.

I may not share Merkel’s general political views but she was brave enough and had enough human compassion to take the lead in helping refugees from the middle east. Compare that with the UK government all but turning its back on fellow human beings.

Goodness me what is happening in the UK these days when our political leaders help create and sustain wars in the middle east whilst sitting back and doing so little to assist with the human suffering that is a direct consequence?

And what on earth is going on within the BBC when they give huge profile day in day out to a man like Farage? He’s not even an MP yet his every utterance is treated as though he speaks for the UK. I have long been a supporter of the BBC but after its appalling coverage of the EU Referendum and now its love in with man who in my view stands firmly against traditional British values of tolerance, helping our fellow man and woman in distress and common decency I have to say I have had it with the BBC.

These are dark days indeed. Days when our elected leaders are weak and driven by the opinions of an out of control right wing press. Days when we as an country care little for those with nothing and when we allow our government to run the NHS into the ground. Days when our government deliberately under-funds care for the elderly whilst throwing huge amounts of money on weapons of war.

And you know this dangerous malaise is not just festering within our fascist leaning government and its UKIPian wing. It’s got a home within other political parties as well all be it often couched in less obviously strident language, but sadly it is there.

I really do fear where the path that we are daily treading is taking us.

Angry & Intolerant – A response from someone who knows me well

My recent posting regarding my own anger and intolerance over Brexit brought back this insightful response:-

Anger can be a useful tool if it can be directed, it can fuel difficult actions and hard campaigns. As long as you have control of it a little anger can take you a long way, sometimes further than you thought you could make it.

I don’t think Anger is an inherently bad thing, there are things that SHOULD make us angry. You are angry not because you got beaten but because you watched too many members of a generation who won’t be around to see the consequences of their vote to make life harder for their grandchildren, because you saw vulnerable people lied to and exploited, manipulated into voting for something that won’t benefit them in the least. In their case the anger they were entitled to feel at the neglect of the system got used by someone else, perhaps partly in fear of those people directing their anger towards the right targets and the people that had consistently failed to help them, or worse still failed to really try.

You are angry because there has been a backlash of hate, of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, the list of rising hate crimes is too long to go on with. You are angry because a young woman trying to work for her community got savagely murdered in the streets.

You SHOULD be angry, we should ALL be angry, but anger is only useful if we direct it into purpose. This may be the biggest threat to our country, to the liberal values you and I both hold dear, in a very long time. It should be fought. Tolerating other people’s views doesn’t mean you stop fighting them when you think they’re wrong. It means you fight them in the right way, that you don’t stoop to name-calling, to slurs and intimidation. You treat them with the respect owed to all human beings while fighting against the effects of their views and trying to convince them they are wrong. That’s where anger starts to get in the way, you don’t change anyone’s views by shouting at them.

We need to remember that more important than politics, than economies, than anything, is our relationships with our fellow human beings. Events like this make us want to retreat to the safety of those that agree with us, make us want to get behind a barricade and throw projectiles at the enemy but that isn’t really going to help anybody. Martin Luther King quite rightly said “hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”.

We need to be careful about indulging in some feeling of moral superiority and feelings of blame, how we got here is important but how we move forward is even more so. All far easier to say than to do, but I grew up with a good example of all this so somehow, occasional shouting aside, I think you’ll do just fine.

Well, it seems like I could consider an apology to those I have insulted over the Brexit vote following this advice. But, I will have to sit on that for a while as the anger is still very strong and the full consequences of that vote are unknown. Put it this way, if my genuine fears about the future of the UK prove to be unfounded and that Brexit ‘visionaries’ were right in saying leaving the EU will be the making of the UK then maybe I will apologise. However, based on the evidence that I saw before the referendum and what I have seen since I still can’t understand why Brexiters pressed what I see as the self-destruct button. Yes, still very angry indeed!